“SKYE” Club’s Future Trainers’ Meeting

World Vision Armenia in partnership with Armenian Progressive Youth NGO and several Yerevan-based organizations is going to launch a SKYE Club in Yerevan.

The SKYE Club (Skills and Knowledge for Youth Economic-empowerment) model is a holistic and integrated approach to helping disadvantaged youth develop the skills, behaviors and attitudes necessary to obtain sustainable livelihoods and participate constructively in their communities. This is achieved through group based training and support services.

The club is going to operate in Yerevan and will bring together 25 Syrian-Armenian and local young people based in Yerevan for weekly meetings and training focus on soft skills development, personal growth, employability and IT skills.

Armenian Progressive Youth is going to select several outstanding volunteers who will take part in Training of Trainers as well as a coaching and mentoring process conducted by the professionals at World Vision Armenia. They will be leading the SKYE Club and facilitation the learning process of the participants.

On the 2nd of November 4 of the candidates had their first meeting to deliver presentations and workshops to demonstrate their trainers’ skills and participate in the selection process. All of them will undergo a final selection and will join the trainer’s team.

Many thanks to #Article3 Club for hosting us in their warm and friendly environment.




Unity in Diversity? From Challenges to Opportunities

From 30th of March to 7th “Armenian Progressive Youth Progressive Youth” NGO together in partnership with “Active Ukrainians in Europe” NGO launched a multi-layer project entitled as ‘Unity in diversity? From challenges to opportunities’. The project gathered 32 youth workers and youth educators from Armenia, Denmark, Georgia, Italy, Moldova, Poland,Sweden, Turkey and Ukraine  in Yerevan, Armenia to discuss how current military conflicts and migration processes affect young people and analyze the current migration challenges in Europe trying to offer solutions from the perspective of youth work.

12967419_1160384577314220_72783385713376247_oAs a response to the recent refugee crisis Armenian Progressive Youth NGO has also organized a conference on migration and youth. The conference aimed at highlighting the importance of youth workers and young people in the public debate on migration and discussing how youth workers can use the intercultural dialogue tools to combat intolerance towards migrants and refugees. The Conference involved Civil Society Organizations, youth workers, experts, academics, young migrants and refugees from Armenia,Denmark, Georgia, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Sweden,Turkey and Ukraine.

Kateryna Bublyk, a participant from Ukraine, says that the word “unity” in her language means standing close to someone,  supporting each other, feeling safe and friendly. “It is the sense of a fellowship, and it doesn’t matter what nationality, religion, sex or social status the other person obtain”, she says.

Maya Zakhova, 31 years old from Denmark, adds that for her these topics are very important because she is herself an immigrant in Denmark. “Copenhagen is very multicultural city and I’m a part of it. For me “unity and diversity” are not just words but daily reality.”

Olga Sevcenco, 26 years old from Moldova, describes that for her the training is about inclusion of immigrants, which is highly relevant at this time. Melanie Celina Jane Marchand, 36 years old from France, concludes that the project was about how to get united even if we are coming from different countries. How to create an awareness of the different problems that migrants can go through and in that way create tools to make them feel 12891097_1156090134410331_508253120229537994_obetter in their welcome countries and give them the opportunity to build their personal and professional live. From the trainings, she continues, I got a more precise idea of that is going on in different countries in Europe and inspirational ideas for new joint projects.
Tatiana Prodan, 27 years old from Moldova, adds , “We must understand that the refugees do not come to out country to harm us, they flee from their countries to find better living conditions. That is why we should not marginalize or exclude them”
. Kateryna Bublyk recognizes the importance of these topics in her home country: “As military actions are hold in my country, a lot of people are forced to leave their houses and move with their families all over Ukraine. Trainings like these help us, the Ukrainian youth workers, to overcome the difficulties in communicating with our own refugees.”

Olga Sevcenco stresses that one of the highlights from the training was the session were they were giving theatrical performance based on given12983991_1163573413662003_8122491659337591728_o

scenarios: ”It was very challenging to put ourselves in the place of an immigrant, to act as them and to receive feedback of others etc. From my point
of view, unity, is a term that can be interpreted differently by everyone but the most important is that it brings us together and remind us to respect each culture, vision and diversity. She adds that: ”also, the project was a great opportunity to learn a about culture and history of wonderful and amazing Armenia. The breath taking view of Ararat and delicious Armenian cuisine is still in my mind and heart.”

”After “Unity in Diversity”, Kateryna Bublyk inserts, ”I became more active in social life. Now I try to take part in the majority of projects and activities organised by our local NGO “Centre for European Initiatives”. And I like it! I feel like even being just a simple local citizen I still can participate in the city life, do something good and change the world.”12970881_1161312393888105_5060455718478023478_o

“Extremism, no thanks!” International Training Course in Yerevan

From 23rd to 30th of August Armenian Progressive Youth NGO together with International Youth to Youth Initiative from Lithuania hosted the international training course “Extremism? No, Thanks!” aimed at looking deeper into the issues of extremism, migration, discrimination, nationalism, intolerance and intercultural misunderstandings. It brought together youth workers and youth activists from Armenia, Belarus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Georgia, Macedonia Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russian Federation, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine and United Kingdom in Yerevan to discuss and understand the causes of extremism and where they develop. Taking into account the ongoing extremist movements, raising xenophobia and Islamophobia in Europe, the gathering of active young people, youth workers and activists is highly important to tackle questions of multicultural society, interreligious and intercultural dialogue as well as to think about some practical tools how to fight discrimination and combat extremism.

14184451_10153683023411400_3608782133671794835_nSaida Ibrahimava, one of the trainers and co-founders of Youth to Youth Initiative, reflects on some of the core parts of the project, “The training course became for me a crucial point where I have finally connected my professional development as a youth worker with academic background focused on youth radicalization and the ways and means of de-radicalization. This course was supposed to inspire youth workers across Europe and neighboring countries to start actions preventing violence and countering extremism, building peace and sustainable dialogue. It was designed to equip one with practical knowledge on how to eradicate radicalism through youth initiatives and the power of narrative. Based on real case studies, simulations and personal experience sharing, we tried to rediscover the topic and learn different practices and methods that could foster change and make a difference in our diverse communities and cosmopolitan world. I sincerely hope we managed to deliver the message and inspire all participants for action.

The training included, among others, a workshop on discrimination and types of oppression, as well as cultural influences from Armenia, such as a excursion to different picturesque places in Armenia. The participants have also had an opportunity of having traditional dinner in an Armenian family and got to try Armenian traditional food.
The participant Ambra Aielli from Italy, shared her impressions of the training course with us telling that she felt that the idea behind the training course was to work with the concept of extremism in a critical way and offer us, as youth workers and human beings, the tools to tackle this issue in our professional and daily life  “I am a teacher, well, I hope that this will become my permanent job, therefore I think it’s essential to be able to promote integration and intercultural dialogue in school. I think education is the best and most effective tool we have to prevent the rise of extremism, and unfortunately I feel that the educational system of my country doesn’t really offer the possibility to work in this way”, she says.14231908_10209067523997017_9147289830416482983_o

Roman Melnyk, 25 years old from Ukraine, has described the project not as a very theoretical training but rather a training of an organic understanding of how social tensions, injustice and other factors create a growing ground for developing extremism. He says, that in his opinion extremism is a monopoly on truth and privileges and at the same time a lack of education.

Another participant, Tania Kebak, 25 years old from Moldova, explains that she has learned that we can not relate all kinds of extremism to Islamic extremist groups, extremism is more than that, we daily experience extremist situations.

14053706_1254211624598181_1855148114584072684_oDuje Jakovcevic, 27 years old from Croatia, adds that for him extremism means a narrow-minded, intolerant and exclusive approach to certain social or political concerns. He also points out that the topic of extremism is very important to him because he lives in a society which is defined by experiences of nationalism, especially since the breakup of Yugoslavia, and recent economic hardships have exacerbated this tension, thus created a potential for radicalization. – ”And that is a problem that he interacts with on a daily basis. Not only in my home country, but all across Europe and the Western world, right-wing extremism is on the rise and it is a phenomena that affects me whether I like or not”, he says.

Anna Razmakhina, our project participant from Belarus, also works as a teacher, and likewise emphasizes the key role of education: “Many young14046163_1255333207819356_2475526833033521692_n
people I work with these days are not used to any sort of critical thinking or forming their own point of view by studying different sources. In my work I try to break through these tendencies. And English classes is actually a great tool. “According to me”, she says, “no other subject allows the teacher to elaborate on topics that would actually not just raise their motivation to learn the academic material, but develop them as humans, broaden their outlook and expose to new experiences, let them meet exciting people. As I see it, the more a person learns about the world, the less stereotypical mind set he/she has, which is a great deal in building a non-violent, tolerant and simply kind society”. Anna Razmakhnina, also points out that the training course brought together over 30 people from all over Europe and the immense diversity of their experiences, opinions, characters and live stories. So it 14138197_1254211314598212_3243678792597668696_owas also about getting to know people who are so different from you.

Overall, meeting people from so many different backgrounds was very useful in order to gain knowledge about different outlooks and perspectives regarding the same problem, Duje Jakovcevic says. Ambra Aielli also mentions that one of the highlights of the training course was the possibility to meet inspiring people who can push her to commit more and accomplish more in social activism.

Let’s Make it Home – Seminar on Inclusion of Refugees/IDPs in Hosting Communities

On 14-22 April 2016 an international seminar “Let’s Make it Home” took place in Sumy, Ukraine. The aim of the seminar was to empower youth and NGO workers with tools and practices in working on inclusion and humanitarian support of IDPs and refugees in hosting communities.

The seminar involved 36 youth workers and youth activist with experience in conflict resolution, physiological therapy, cultural studies, human rights, project management, law, social work, and health care from 12 countries (Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, UK, Ukraine, Turkey) working with IDPs and refugees in their communities.

The methodologies of the seminar was based on non-formal education approaches such as: intercultural, experiential and participatory learning, problem analysis, panel discussion and sharing good practices to promote greater cohesion and integration between host communities and refugees/IDPs.

The participants of the seminar identified issues that had arisen in local communities hosting IDPs and refugees. Main issues named by the participants were lack of integration, acceptance and communication among hosting communities and IDPs/refugees, as well as indifference and refusal faced by the migrants.

The practical outcome of the seminar is drafted recommendations by the participants for local authorities, governments, and educational institutions, local, national and international NGOs working in hosting communities.

The developed recommendations are expected to contribute to prevention of possible conflicts in local communities; and ensure intercultural dialogue between various parties involved.
Additionally to it, the participants developed follow-up initiatives focused on the integration of refugees and IDPs in their local communities.

The project was implemented by NGO “Center for European Initiatives” (Ukraine) and NGO “Active Ukrainian in Europe” (Sweden) in cooperation with Youth Peace Ambassadors Network and with financial support of National Agency of Erasmus + Programme in Sweden.

Recommendations for Integration of IDPs and Refugees in HCs